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Topic: AP Stats Software -- Another Reply
Replies: 2   Last Post: Apr 9, 1996 6:47 PM

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Joe H Ward

Posts: 743
Registered: 12/6/04
AP Stats Software -- Another Reply
Posted: Apr 9, 1996 1:11 PM
  Click to see the message monospaced in plain text Plain Text   Click to reply to this topic Reply

I have attached my comments FOLLOWING the 3 messages posted by Julie, Tim
and Bob re AP Stats Software.

From reulba@bgsm.eduTue Apr 9 10:07:24 1996
Date: Mon, 8 Apr 1996 17:33:02 -0400 (EDT)
From: Todd and Julie Reulbach <>
Subject: AP Stats software

Hello! My school system is going to be starting the AP Stats class
and will have great access to computers. I was wondering if anyone could
recommend computer software for the course. The AP Stats info book had a
listing of many, but I don't know what is good (or NOT good). If anyone has
any info on either one, please let me know!!

Julie Reulbach


From tbrown@lville.pvt.k12.nj.usTue Apr 9 10:06:17 1996
Date: Tue, 09 Apr 1996 08:09:21 -0400
From: Timothy Brown <>
Subject: AP Stats software -Reply

Welcome, Julie. There's been a lot of discussion about computer
software on this list over the past few months, and if my memory
serves me the most commonly mentioned packages (for the Mac, anyway)
are MINITAB and DATA DESK. My preference is MINITAB, but I'm not an
expert, and you'll get a score of other rec's.

I'm responding to you message because I'd like to hear from the
group about exactly how important people feel computer software *is*.
I am trying to teach the AP syllabus for the first time this year,
and I find that it takes a conscious effort to involve the computer,
because *everything* can be done with the TI-82 and some freeware
that is readily available at NCTM conferences (stuff that I suspect
will be built-in on the TI-83). Why do we need computers? It feels
artificial to employ a sledgehammer to drive a thumbtack. Especially
when every student can have the calculator in their hands.

Tim Brown
Lawrenceville School
Lawrenceville, NJ 08648


From hayden@oz.plymouth.eduTue Apr 9 10:04:38 1996
Date: Tue, 9 Apr 1996 09:56:21 -0400 (EDT)
From: Bob Hayden <>
Subject: calculators

> From: hayden (Bob Hayden)
> Subject: AP Stats software -Reply (fwd)
> To: APstats
> Date: Tue, 9 Apr 1996 09:53:10 -0400 (EDT)
> I think the calculator makes it too easy to be content with number
> crunching and to avoid real data analysis. If you just want to get
> the mean of five numbers and that's the end of it, the calculator is
> fine. If you want to work all semester with several large, real data
> sets, you quickly come up against the limitations of the calculator.
> Just one moderate size data set with a few variables will exhaust its
> storage capacity. If you want to then look at another data set and
> later return to the first, you have to constantly retype the data or
> connect to someone who still has it on their calculator or download it
> from a commputer (in which case, why not use the computer to analyze
> the data?). Now, suppose you want to compare the normal probability
> plot for this week's data to the same plot for last weeks data?
> On the output side, I felt like we made a big step BACKWARDS at my
> school when we moved from paper printing terminals to CRTs. I wanted
> my students to be able to compare several different displays of the
> same data. The displays will not fit on a single CRT screen, to say
> nothing of a calculator screen.
> I think the calculator is an impediment to thoughtful data analysis.
> If you did all your dispalys by hand, then at least you could go back
> and look at them next week.

| | Robert W. Hayden
| | Department of Mathematics
/ | Plymouth State College
| | Plymouth, New Hampshire 03264 USA
| * | Rural Route 1, Box 10
/ | Ashland, NH 03217-9702
| ) (603) 968-9914 (home)
fax (603) 535-2943 (work)

I agree with Bob Hayden's comments and I will add a few thoughts related
to the Subject.


Interest in statistics as the secondary level has been heightened with the
announcement that on May 6, 1997, the Advanced Placement Examination in
Statistics will be given for the first time by The College Board. Of
particular significance is the role of technology in AP Statistics.

As indicated in the Preliminary Edition of the Advanced Placement Course
Description for Statistics, "The fundamental tool of data analysis is
the computer." (p. 9). "Because the computer is central to what
statisticians do, we believe it is essential for teaching the AP
Statistics course." (p. 10). "While it would be ideal for students to
have access to a computer during the AP Statistics Examination, this is
currently unrealistic. Thus, graphing calculators will be required and
computer output will be provided a necessary. Familiarity with generic
computer output may be necessary to answer some questions on the
examination." (p. 11). A copy of this announcement can be obtained from
the Educational Testing Service (ETS) or Regional Offices of the College
Board. The email addresses are shown below.
It is apparent that it will be necessary for teachers of statistics to
choose an appropriate statistical software package to facilitate data
analysis. Several factors that seem significant in the selection of the
statistical software system are:

1. The teacher's personal confidence in using the selected software.

2. Compatibility of the software used for the examples in the selected text
with the chosen software. In selecting a statistics text, it would
be desirable to have a text that uses the selected software for the
data analysis examples.

3. The desirability of using "Student Versions" of larger statistical
packages. This consideration would allow for the acquisition of
multiple copies of the "Student Version" and perhaps one copy of the
larger system. The knowledge obtained with the Student Version would
allow students to easily use the larger system.

4. The cost of the software.

The AP-Statistics Exam certainly is an important step toward stimulating
interest in statistics the high schools. I whole-heartedly support the
AP-Statistics Development Committee's specifications for the AP Statistics
Course. I feel strongly that their statements "The fundamental tool
of data analysis is the computer." (p. 9)... "Because the computer is
central to what statisticians do, we believe it is essential for teaching
the AP Statistics course." (p. 10). should be printed in large, bold letters.

My personal opinion is that the Development Committee has done a good
job in providing a course description that possibly will satisfy a large
number of colleges who will give college credit for statistics. However,
it is my observation that a majority of the college one-semester non-calculus
based statistics courses are focusing on what I would call "the
pre-computer ways of statistics instruction". There seems to be a
reluctance to provide students with the POWER THAT THEY DESERVE. It may
be that us "old folks" think that if we suffered with algorithms designed
for pre-computer days, that our students should not be allowed to skip the
suffering. For example, some teachers and text books would have their
students believe that in a "two-factor ANOVA they must have equal or
proportional cell frequencies with NO MISSINGS CELLS" and that is why they
must do the computing using the pre-computer algorithms. Hopefully the
secondary teachers will be able to take the lead in giving THEIR students
the power that they deserve.

Back to the Calculators --

The graphing calculator does lots of great things such as easy plotting
of functions. But the main advantage is the low cost.

For at least five years I have talked with almost every calculator rep
about the simple requirement to allow the user to have the option to NOT

Now, the user is REQUIRED to use the linear model:

Y = a + b*X

(where a is the Y-intercept and b is the "least-squares"
coefficient for X. It is called the "slope of the line in the X-Y
plane" when the researcher believes that the "amount of change in
Y per unit change in X is constant". However, the researcher may
wish to let the predictor X contain ANY VALUES such as t^2,
t^3,..., cos(t), log(t) , etc. For example, D = k1*T^2)

So if the user really believes that the function should pass through the
origin -- it's not easy.


And furthermore, most interesting problems are of the form:

Y = a + b1*X1 + b2*X2 + b3*X3 + ...

and in some cases the model may be of the form

Y = c1*X1 + c2*X2 + c3*X3 + ... (NO CONSTANT)

Of course, these problems can be solved using the matrix operations --
which may be outside the learning objectives for the students.

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